Taking No Prisoners

Missouri maintains a spotless record at Bonne Terre facility

That hardly jibes with Long's observation that prison growth has slowed, but in a larger sense that argument doesn't matter anymore. Neither does an even larger point, which is that Missouri and other states should be looking for alternatives to incarceration rather than building prisons they can't afford.

You see, the prison at Bonne Terre is built. Finished. Done. It exists. It may have been the stupidest project of all time, but it's a little late to worry about that.

Isn't it?

"I just think the state needs to look at the fiscal responsibility of making a commitment to build a facility and then having it just sit there empty," Wilke says. "It also ought to look at the responsibility of making a commitment to our town and then leaving us holding the bag. It's scary, and it's just not right."

That, like the Bonne Terre prison itself, is inescapable.

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